Work out two hours after eating or an hour before eating. Cramps occur as a result of working out too close to meal time in either direction.
The time of day you train isn't important, but consistency is. If you have a job at which your hours are erratic, try to get at least one day during the week and two days on the weekend when you work out at the same time. Your body needs consistent recuperation times. If you work out in the morning one day, take a day's break, and then come into the gym on the evening of the third day, that's too much time between workouts. Try to be consistent.
Don't hold your breath as you work out. You could black out from lack of oxygen if the stress is excessive. Exhale during the effort portion of the exercise and inhale during the recovery or easy phase.
When doing any resistance exercise, choose a weight that will minimize the number of repetitions you have to do to reach your point of failure. If you want to pack on mass, do no more than 6 to 8 hard reps before failing.
Abdominals can take tremendous strain. Regular work with extremely high repetitions is the best way to get them in shape. Abdominals can take an enormous number of repetitions before failing, depending upon fitness level. You often see a person doing 50 repetitions before form begins to disintegrate and fatigue causes low-back strain. Shoot for a max of 50 reps before you add resistance.
Increase poundage in an exercise when you are able to do 10 repetitions fairly easily.
Rest 1 minute between sets for upper-body work and 2 minutes for lower-body work.
Most muscle groups need, on average, at least 48 hours to recuperate between training sessions. Growth occurs during those 48 hours.
High reps and low weight create higher levels of endurance, whereas low reps and more weight produce strength.
Overtraining results from long workouts with too many exercises and repetitions, not from short, intense training sessions.
To build strength, train body-parts twice per week on a split schedule.
To build endurance, train bodyparts three times per week on a split schedule.
Overtraining and eating too few calories can both, individually, cause insomnia because of the metabolic process associated with each. Catabolism makes you a night owl.
To boost circulation, always do a warmup set when starting a workout. You can accomplish this goal by getting on the treadmill or stepper for 3 to 5 minutes. Blood will reach body-parts better once you begin working out if it is already flowing.
To avoid overtraining, keep the number of sets per exercise lower than 5.
To get your heart in shape, do at least three 20-minute cardio sessions per week. To burn fat, do at least four 30-minute cardio sessions per week.
After finishing each workout, cool down by taking a 5-minute walk around the block. Then stretch for 5 minutes to get pooled blood and lactic acid out of muscles.
Unless you're trying to prioritize weak or lagging areas, always start with large muscle groups.
When determining the order of bodyparts in a split throughout the week, always do legs before back. Have you ever tried to squat with a sore back? Impossible.
You don't have to change your workout every week to keep the body guessing. Do supersets and drop sets, change workout speed, vary rest times, and use different apparatus for the same exercise. Such variations help to extend the effectiveness of a workout before you have to change it.
If you place the squat bar high on the traps with elbows pointing down, you'll target more quadriceps. If you squat more like a powerlifter, with the bar lower on the traps and elbows pointing upward, you'll get more glute, low back and upper quad.
As you get stronger, your set numbers will increase. To determine whether you should increase the number of sets you do, without overtraining, do enough sets of any one exercise until your strength drops by about 15 percent.
If you're clean and not taking androgens of any kind, 3 sets per exercise is plenty.
A body on steroids can handle more intensity, more sets and higher poundage than a natural body can.
If you're doing fewer than 30 sets total during leg workouts, you aren't maximizing your potential. Do at least 30 and up to 40 sets for legs.
If calves don't respond to traditional training and you're having difficulty building any muscle despite trying both high/low rep work and high/low weight work, you need to include some activity that builds calves naturally through continuous motion. Cyclists, dancers and sprinters have great calves. Sprint on your toes, cycle, walk stairs, or take some kind of class that develops calves naturally.
Include some form of instability in workouts. While that sounds like bad advice, it isn't. Proprioception (i.e. receiving stimuli from within the organism) is the best way to create balance in a physique because instability forces the body to find its own correct place of stability by way of micromuscles and nerve centers in the spine. Do leg work (squats without weight) on a balance disk, and arm work - once a week - on a balance disk or board. Try calf raises when you become balanced.
If you're doing a lot of ab work, you must do some low-back work to balance or you'll develop structural weakness and open your-self to injury.
Work the tibialis, the muscle that runs from the base of the knee down along the shin bone, to balance calf work. Your calves will look bigger and your legs more complete. Bring toes up toward slightly bent knees while sitting at a desk or watching television.
Don't just rest between sets. Do a set of a completely unrelated exercise that won't impede your recovery process. For instance, while recovering from leg press, do a set of biceps curls or triceps extensions. Your recuperation will be better and you will end up stronger overall.
Between sets relax and stretch muscles you're working (if you're not training another bodypart) to gain additional hardness and separation. Stretch afterward to clear the muscle of lactic acid.
Free weights cause more growth because of the instability compared to machines. That doesn't mean losing your balance while doing free-weight exercises, but you recruit additional muscle both for the exercise at hand and to maintain stability. This extra stimulation causes more potential growth at the cellular level. For example, lifting one foot slightly off the floor while doing a moderate-weight biceps curl or triceps pushdown will recruit more muscle.
Use weight machines as a way to finish off a bodypart, not as a main way to work that area. Machines provide a means to isolate and narrow focus on a smaller, more specific area within the bodypart.
Instead of using the treadmill for all your aerobic work, try a long-distance, flat bike ride on a bike path, or do a long distance swim as a change of pace.
Think the power of thought isn't powerful enough to create a great physique? Think again. Envision every day how you want to look. Never lose sight of that mental image. As you work out, imagine specific bodyparts on that ideal body and picture how they might look while straining with a dumbbell or bar. The more vividly you can visualize your ideal physique, the closer you'll come to achieving it.